Defying the Worldly Pull Toward Independence

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

declaration of dependenceIs time passing you by like a speeding freight train? Perhaps your mind is racing each evening as you attempt to lay your head to rest because there are so many things left undone. Perhaps you feel the adrenaline rush the minute you open your eyes in the morning; before you even begin your day, you are already pressed beyond measure to accomplish an unrealistic “to do” list.

Nevertheless, the world teaches that independence is a sign of great strength when in fact it takes far more strength to take time out and commune with the Lord when you are simultaneously being pressed on every side by those who are demanding results. The truth of the matter is that it’s actually a sign of arrogance to think that we are capable of accomplishing anything of true value apart from receiving guidance and instruction from the Lord.

The Lord wants to be our docking station whereas, we go out with a divine set of strategic instructions and after accomplishing those things that He has placed on our agenda, we return to our only true source who can factor in those things of old and the things yet to come in order to accomplish mighty things in His name and for His glory.

Prayer

Lord, thanks for desiring to be my strategic coach, guiding me through the process of accomplishing things of true Kingdom value. As the world runs around frantically trying to make things happen, I commit to bowing before You as humbly as I know how in order to receive and accomplish the agenda you have planned for me.

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Guard Your Heart

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. – Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

Hugged by the WordAre you easily offended? Perhaps you have a preconceived notion of the way you expect others to treat you. Your demeanor may exude a subtle hint that you are tender-hearted so you’re in dire need for others to deal with you in a delicate manner.

Even though you may have a fixed mindset that others should automatically treat you favorably, due to your kind spirit, you still must refrain from placing that person on a pedestal. In that, you’re more than likely setting yourself up for a huge heartbreak.

Since offenses are like leaches that serve to drain the flow of life-giving blood, it is imperative that we don’t take offense because bitterness is in close proximity waiting to take root. Furthermore, we must be so wrapped up in the Word of God that the offense literally has no possible way to penetrate through and sabotage our emotions.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for providing Your Word to serve as an impenetrable shield to keep offenses from negatively affecting me.

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Time Management

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. – (Luke 5:16) (NIV)

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. – (Proverbs 19:21) (NIV)

time managementDoes it feel as though there is no way humanly possible to accomplish everything on your agenda today? Perhaps you rushed out without taking time to commune with God. Your adrenaline may have been pumping in an effort to get everyone out of the house on time. From there it may seem as though you were whisked away only to fight intense traffic in order to get to work on time.

If that sums up your morning, you may want to consider that you are too busy not to pray. Entering into the presence of God and allowing our spirit to commune with His is essential. It’s most likely the only time we will feel total and complete peace and freedom from the burdens and cares of this life. It’s where we can place every concern, financial burden, conflict and our overbooked calendar at His feet in exchange for a renewed and refreshed spirit.

Furthermore, not only will He give us a renewed and refreshed spirit but He’ll serve as our strategic partner and life coach. He’ll provide us with a strategic plan to accomplish everything that He has in store for our day. Nevertheless, in order to reap the most benefit from your refreshed and renewed spirit, you must remain fully present in today. Tomorrow has to wait its turn to come forth and yesterday­ has purposefully been locked behind the door of time, as the clock struck midnight.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for reminding me that my efforts are futile apart from You, as nothing of true value can happen apart from Your participation. Thanks for serving as my strategic partner and life coach in order to weed out the time wasters and get things of kingdom value done in record time.

 

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God’s Promise to Meet Your Needs

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:19) (NIV)

God meets needsAre you struggling financially? Perhaps you have more month than you do money, so to speak, whereas your bills far exceed your income. Perhaps your financial struggle is not as intense but it is still very stressful because you barely make it each month. As you are living paycheck to paycheck, you more than likely are not able to save for the unforeseen things that tend to occur in life. Furthermore, the smallest unforeseen occurrence seems to result in an extensive setback.

As you look to reducing your expenditures, it’s important to make two lists, one list containing the things you consider to be needs and the other wants. The first angle of attack should be to work on reducing the expenditures associated with your basic needs. The object here is to examine ways to cut cost but yet still ensure that your basic needs are met. Shaving off even the smallest excessive amount not only gives you immediate financial relief but it also gives a glimmer of hope knowing that your situation is not completely hopeless.

Lastly, it is important to identify the “will not’s” which represent the expenditures that are over and above your basic needs but you have declared that you will not part with it because there is an emotional tie. Quite frequently, trying to deal with the things in this category makes you feel as though you’ve hit a brick wall. The personal perception is that although it does not fall in the basic needs category, one feels that he or she simply can’t do without it. In this instance, the angle of attack would be to first and foremost, work on the emotion itself. Hence, simply doing away with the expenditure, without addressing the emotional tie, more than likely will cause you to fill that void with something else in the not so distant future.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for always providing enough to meet my needs. Grant me wisdom, knowledge and understanding to know the difference between what You consider to be a need and that of a want. Help me to combat with Your Word the negative emotions that are keeping me in financial bondage.

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God is Omnipresent

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. – (Ps. 139:7-8) (NIV)

OmnipotentAre you longing to sense God’s presence? Perhaps you are at a crossroad in your life and you desperately need to hear His voice in order to make a very important decision. It may seem as though your whole life and the lives around you will be drastically altered by this choice thus, you want to make sure that you make the right decision.

You may be reminiscing about a time when you sensed God’s presence at a specific location and are trying to make your way back there in order to receive a clear answer. As you think back to your experience at that place, you may recall a sense of peace to the point that the cares of your situation appeared to melt away.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the place, in and of itself, is not magical. The truth of the matter is that God is everywhere, all the time. The unique aspect of that location is that you most likely made a concerted effort to quiet all the background noise and peel away the layers of worry and stress that had previously prevented the Son from shining through.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for reminding me that I don’t have to go to a particular location in order to usher in Your presence, as You are omnipresent. As I long to feel Your presence and receive clear direction, I’m making an effort right now to disrobe myself of the layers of worry and stress that has blocked my ability to hear clearly.

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Co-dependent or God-dependent?

Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety. – Proverbs 29:25 (NLT)

dependence on GodAre you prone to co-dependent tendencies or would you say that you march to the beat of an audience of One? Most people won’t readily admit to being co-dependent. Many times a co-dependent person does not even recognize it because they’re so focused on skirting around other people to keep them appeased, to the point that they lose sight of their own hopes, dreams and desires. In the midst, many even lose sight of God’s calling on their lives.

A co-dependent’s stance is similar to one who juggles fine china. They must constantly and consistently keep everything in motion at all cost, even at the cost of their own personal joy and convictions. This performance-based show causes the person to constantly live on edge and in fear of doing anything that would negate another’s approval or provision.

If trying to appease others has put a wedge in your personal relationship with God, it may be time to surrender the relationships at the foot of the cross. If God’s instruction leads you to allow the plates to come crashing down, so to speak, refrain from frantically trying to salvage and mend the pieces. There are some relationships and/or mindsets that are not allowed to accompany you to the next phase of your destiny.

Prayer

Lord, I’m not sure at what point I’ve allowed my desire to please others trump my trust in your approval or provision. I surrender my relationships to You in order to test my motives and restore me to a place where I march to the beat of an audience of One.

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The Land of the Free

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

freedom in ChristDo you enjoy the freedom that we experience in this country? It is mind boggling to think that a person would put everything on the line, essentially lay down their freedom, to ensure the freedom of others. Furthermore, not only do they personally sacrifice but their entire family gives up the privilege of enjoying each day together as a family unit. Many have not only been plagued by the devastating possibility of never seeing their loved one again but it has become a reality.

Even though these sacrifices are totally selfless and highly commendable, there is One who made the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus left His place of royalty whereas His sustenance was the love of the Father pouring over Him like a rushing stream. He left Utopia with the foreknowledge that He was going to be clothed with the bondage of this world so that in turn mankind would be set free.

With that being said, may we never take this freedom for granted by allowing ourselves in turn to willingly become ensnared. Even though there are many ways that we can personally become ensnared, financial bondage seems to be taking us by storm. Sadly, statistics show that as a nation we are in severe financial bondage. Consumer debt in the U.S. is inching near $12 trillion. It is said that on average, each household carries more than $15,000 in credit card debt. Nevertheless, let us not discount their efforts by becoming personally ensnared.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for allowing me to live in the land of the free. Thank you for Your ultimate sacrifice and the sacrifice of others to make this possible. May I live a life that reflects my gratitude by refraining from self-inflicted bondage.

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Red Sea Experience

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.– Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

red seaAre you waiting on a breakthrough? Perhaps you feel as though you are pressed against the “Red Sea” on one side and the enemy is in hot pursuit on the other. You may even feel that your situation is hopeless, with no positive solution in sight. Fear may have even turned to panic.

In the natural there doesn’t appear to be a clear path for this to turn out well. Thus, many times we fix our gaze on the crisis, all the while failing to recognize that God doesn’t operate in the natural. In that, we allow the visible to supersede the invisible.

In a positive light, it’s actually a blessing that there appears to be no way because it creates a platform for God to show Himself mighty. It also challenges our belief system which can serve as a means to draw us nearer to the One who is completely trustworthy. Nevertheless, In His perfect timing, He will carve out a totally new path. Rest assured, the path the He carves out will be so fitting for your shape but most of all it’s perfect to enable you to fulfill your purpose for existence.

Prayer

Lord, I surrender my thoughts, plans, concerns and fears at the foot of Your cross. I recognize that life is not about me but about being in the center of Your will. It’s encouraging to know that as You have begun a great work, You will also provide all that I need to triumphantly carry out your will!

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Resisting or Assisting?

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7 (NIV)

resisting or assistingDo you find yourself resisting or assisting the enemy? Many times we don’t even recognize the fact that we are assisting him. Better yet, even when we recognize it, we’re so bent on succeeding in our own agenda that we press on. Nevertheless, he is very cunning and manipulative. One of his biggest schemes involves strife.

The enemy aims to divide and conquer. If he can get us to focus intently on our differences, it causes separation and isolation so that he can go in for the kill, so to speak. Sadly, many of us have walked away from jobs or relationships because we don’t want to be told what to do but yet we play right into the enemy’s hands. Essentially, we’re like his puppet on a string. We nurse bitterness and unforgiveness as though it is just payment for the wrong that has been done to us.

Resisting the devil is imperative in order to get him to flee but it must be preceded by submitting ourselves to God. It’s declaring that I no longer need to get revenge or make that person pay for the wrong they’ve done. It’s also declaring that God’s way of dealing with the situation is far better regardless if it neither meets my expected outcome nor occurs within my desired timetable.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for Your continued assistance in helping me to recognize the enemy’s scheme to cause division at its onset. I refuse to be his puppet on a string!

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Lose the Ball and Chain

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:2 (NLT)

ball and chainDo you have something that is holding you back from reaching your full potential? If you have lived long enough there is more than likely something that has happened along your journey that serves as a ball and chain around your leg to either stifle or slow down your progress.

Perhaps someone caused physical harm that resulted in you having to work harder than others just to be able to attain the same results. Even still, many of us are not impaired physically but walk with a limp, so to speak, from words that have been spoken over us. You may be encamped on the outer banks of life refusing to get to close to others due to fear of rejection. Perhaps an encounter has left you feeling unworthy and unloved whereas; you are carrying extra weight because you use food as a means to medicate those wounds.

If this is your situation, perhaps it is time to regain the time that has been lost from allowing words to cause you to be less than 100 percent effective. Our maker has taken the time to handcraft a one of a kind, fearfully and wonderfully made, being to accomplish a very specific assignment during our short time on this earth. Furthermore, He deserves nothing less than to have us serve Him at our full potential.

Prayer

Lord, I am sorry for allowing negative words spoken over my life to hold me back from serving You at my full unhindered potential. I know that you deserve so much more. Emotionally, take me back to the day before that incident occurred so that I can experience and nurture the bold, courageous, confident, strong mindset that I possessed prior to this.

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